Just another WordPress.com site

Loving my Mistakes

mortar-board-32277_640Today is graduation at my high school.

I get to see students who I have known for the past four years finally get that degree. And the ones I will yell loudest for are the ones who had the hardest slog.

I became a teacher in the United States in 2000. And I had some awfully hard students. I lamented then entering the classroom with so little knowledge. But my AP, an amazing woman who pushed us to try to raise the bar even when it felt like this was so much the wrong thing to do, said that I was better than the alternative.

These teaching positions in the Bronx, at the 8th worst high school in New York City, were not filled for long. Teachers who came quickly moved into positions that were in a less sketchy part of the city, where the students weren’t so difficult. What she was telling me was right. I was better than a long-term sub, who really wasn’t there for the long term.

But as I look back today, I kind of wish I could do it all again.

I didn’t really know these students. Nor did I know how to.

profiles_SalaamAlaikum_4250_935931_mediaI can’t believe my naivete, or my arrogance. To imagine that I was trusting a book with a pronunciation guide on how to pronounce “As-SalaamAlaikum,” rather than trusting the Muslim student sitting right in front of me makes me ill today. I still think about it. Even though it was more than a decade ago. Heck, I didn’t even know he was Muslim.

But today, I know. It’s a lovely greeting that carries with it such strength, and, for me, lessons of humility.

And I’ll be thinking of my Muslim students as they cross the stage during this first week of Ramadan (I know what that is now, too!). I’ll be reminiscing about the young man I was blown away by when I was working in an elementary school. He still credits me today as the one teacher who taught him to read.

And that is something to smile about.

I’ll be thinking about the Nepali girls (and boys) who stressed out so much about what to wear UNDER the graduation gowns.

I’ll be thinking about the Karen student who came to me for help on topics that were so culturally foreign to him that he did not know where to start.

I’ll be thinking about my students. About how much I’ll miss seeing them. No matter how hard they were.

And I will wish them well.

And I’ll pack along plenty of tissues.

 

Advertisements

Comments on: "Loving my Mistakes" (1)

  1. I love the diversity in America.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Brokedown Pamphlet

war some of the time

Selene Colburn

VT Representative (Chittenden 6-4) & East District City Councilor, Burlington, VT

Thriving Under Pressure

Positive Psychology & Stress Resilience

Drifting Through

Welcome to the inner workings of my mind

Film English

by Kieran Donaghy

Lee Ung: EDTECH Learning Log

Boise State University M.ET Program

JamesRadcliffe.com

James Radcliffe, Musician. Music, Blog, Pictures, Live, News...

Learning to Teach English

Musings and Activities

TIME

Current & Breaking News | National & World Updates

ipledgeafallegiance

When will we ever learn?: Common sense and nonsense about today's public schools in America.

Science and Mysticism

طيب ابن الإعجاز

sunriseandselah

Selah: To Pause, To Praise, To Reflect

EDUWELLS

Student-led Learning and the Future of Education

edensESL

it is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge

Kunal Rane

Some Memories... Some Experiences...

baughk

Advocates of ELL students and their families on the road less traveled.

%d bloggers like this: